Our guide to photographer liability insurance
Do photographers need professional indemnity insurance?
Yes. As a freelance photographers you carry the responsibility for every aspect of your business. The responsibilities of a photographers can quickly become anxieties if you’re facing a claim from a dissatisfied client and you haven’t got a photographer professional indemnity and public lability cover to fall back on.
Whether you are a photo journalist, do weddings or commercial photography, the end result is considered art and as such the expectations of your clients are sky high.
If you drop one of the many balls you have to juggle on a daily basis, you’ll be faced with an emotive client demanding something of you to remedy your mistake. And there could be a number of reasons why a client might feel entitled to a financial compensation:
- you missed the deadline and perhaps your client promotional event couldn’t go ahead. They’re now claiming a financial loss.
- you lost the entire photo file from someone’s wedding or the end result is deemed unacceptable by your client and they’re refusing to pay.
- the photographs you took cause an offence and you’re being sued for damages
- the artistic interpretation was misjudged and you damaged someone’s brand or reputation
The list could go on and any of these scenarios lead to sleepless nights and high legal or compensation costs.
However, for a solid legal protection photographers should also consider public liability insurance. The nature of most photographers’ work involves working with the public. Accidents happens, someone takes a step too far and falls over or the equipment causes an injury. If that happens, you might be looking at a demand for compensation. PL cover is designed to provide legal defence in those situations and if you’ve been found liable, it will also pay any compensation due.
How does professional indemnity insurance for photographers work?
Professional indemnity cover is designed to protect photographers from claims of professional mistakes, negligence or breach of confidentiality. The basic elements are a reimbursement of any defence legal costs and a compensation payout if you're found liable.
Suited professional indemnity cover goes beyond and, in addition to those elements, brings to the table a legal team provided by an international law firm experienced in defending professional indemnity claims. Their work is paid for by your insurers but the legal team will represent you during a claim situation. Right from the very beginning so that the matter is handled correctly, swiftly and hopefully brought an early closure.
The legal team will also liase with you insurers so that you don't have to. If there's a compensation agreed, it will be taken care of. There will be nothing for you to pay.
Remember that when it comes for professional indemnity insurance, you're only covered if you have an active policy in place. It's little bit like health insurance. It doesn't matter that you were insured when your health problem started. What matters is whether you're insured when you're seeking treatment. PI cover is the same. A problem with your past work may have only just come to the surface now and for you to benefit from the legal protection PI cover offers, you must have an active policy.
Therefore if you're taking a break or might be thinking of winding up your business, having a PI cover in place for some extra time might be wise. With Suited you can choose to hibernate your PI cover which means paying less going forward while staying covered for your past work.
Last but not least Suited PI cover comes with an additional legal bolt on called Suited Legal Protect. It's designed to offer our freelancers and contractors additional legal protection against legal and tax matters not typically covered by PI insurance.
How much PI and PL insurance does a freelance photographer need?
Public liability and professional indemnity insurance for photographers is rarely a contract condition therefore the decision what limits to buy for each of these covers needs to be based on the type of work you undertake, who for, who with, and where.
For example if you're working with celebrities or well known persons, your risk of being sued is higher and so is the possible payout. On the other hand if you're a nature photographer and never meet anyone during the course of your work, you probably don't require the highest limit the market can offer.
The location of your work is also important. For example Ireland is a very litigious country. If your work takes around the world, be aware of what impact that could have if you make a mistake or cause damage.
Is your work time sensitive? In other words would your client suffer financially if you don't deliver on time?
These are all the questions you should ask yourself before selecting a limit. The temptation is to go for a lower limit because it's cheaper but the cost of litigation can easily run into hundred of thousands and if there is a compensation to pay on top of that, will the policy limit be enough?
Business legal protect
- Provides qualified advice on business related legal, tax and negative publicity matters
- Pays legal costs & expenses including appeal costs if you or your business face a legal threat or an HMRC/IR35 enquiry
- Chases up business debts over £200 if your credit control procedures didn’t work
- Included with your Professional Indemnity cover
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